EPIC HELIX: LOUIS VUITTON TOWNHOUSE AT SELFRIDGES





Last time A-Gent of Style featured Louis Vuitton in his blog, Marc Jacobs was taking a bow as the artisitc director of the French luxury brand in a spectacular show.  A couple of months ago, rumours were rife as to whom would be replacing the American designer after his sixteen-year reign. As A-Gent of Style predicted, “le petit Nicholas”, former Balenciaga designer Nicholas Ghesquière, has now been ‘anointed’ at the hem helm of Louis Vuitton. A lot of exciting projects have materialised since then and A-Gent of Style turned up at his ‘corner shop’ to investigate one of them.


 

Louis Vuitton’s new urban retail destination store, The LV Townhouse, opened a few weeks ago at London’s Selfridges and has taken the concept of retail (so last century) ‘immersive theatre’ to a completely new level.



The staggering 10,000-square-foot “store within a store” spreads over three inter-connecting floors linked by a state-of-the-art circular glass lift and houses leather goods, accessories and travel items on the ground floor boasting its own re-discovered art deco entrance on Oxford Street whilst Men’s ready-to-wear occupies the first floor and Women’s ready to-wear the second floor.

“We have the concept of the ‘maison,’ which is very Latin”, says Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton. “The ‘townhouse’ instead is an Anglo-Saxon concept. The space is welcoming, homey, but there is a sense of discovery and experience.”



This tour de force of design which took five years to engineer is the brainchild of French-born Tokyo-based designer Gwenaël Nicolas. The interiors of the dramatic space are a symphony of materials such as glass, stone, leather and wood and the palette is made of gold, sand and tortoise shell. Fitting rooms walls are covered in two layers of fabric, mirrors are embedded with white porcelain flowers and butterflies. Especially commissioned artworks and designs are by
Katsumi Hayakawa and Barnaby Barford.



The ground floor:




The double-helix, DNA-shaped glass lift’s spiral structure spins slowly between the floors to display ‘floating’ hand bags and allows the customers to travel up and down the collections.

“We worked so long with Louis Vuitton, and what we wanted for this space was incredible architecture, innovative technology and art. And I loved the notion of travel, the sense of a journey.” adds Alannah Weston, creative director at Selfridges. “I wanted this store to be a one-off, something that people would travel to see”. Mission accomplished.















The ground floor’s “Digital Atelier” allows customers to experience the history and craftsmanship of the brand via table-mounted touch screens, create interactively bespoke bags and luggage, and make wish lists that are automatically transferred to the shop assistants’iPads. There is also a personal monogramming service. 












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The first floor and the Men’s ready-to-wear:




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The second floor and the Women’s ready-to-wear:


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In spring 2014, The Townhouse will offer an exclusive prelaunch of Icônes collection, inspired by the French Modernist designer and architect
Charlotte Perriand, as well as the men’s spring 2014 pre-collection.

Now, that’s something A-Gent of Style will look forward to seeing in the new year.




BOOK END No8



 
December is upon us and the festive season is already in full swing.

Here is A-Gent of Style‘s noteworthy publications for Christmas stocking fillers.

Don’t forget you can hover your cursor over each image to see the rest of the book cover or click on the image to see it in full in a new window.

 
All books are available or can be ordered from
The Bookshop at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour +44 (0) 20 7351 6854 / @blaisemille

And if you’ve missed the previous instalments of Book End, you can catch up and see the other fantastic books A-Gent of Style selected for you over the months:

Book End No1, Book End No2, Book End N03, Book End N04, Book End No5,
Book End No6, Book End No7


Happy reading et bon weekend!





WINDOW WONDERLAND AT JOHN LEWIS



 



Not content with winning the much sought-after 2013 best Christmas television advert with its animated short film The Bear and The Hare and stealing the nation’s (and A-Gent of Style‘s) heart with its heart-tugging story and Lily Allen’s nostalgic cover version of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, John Lewis and
Peter Jones have surpassed themselves this year with offering its customers and any passers-by brilliantly accomplished Christmas window displays that will capture anyone’s imagination.




This year, expect to see reindeer sculpted from Dyson vacuum cleaners,
spatula owls, wolves made out of lamps, penguins made from kettles,
birds fashioned from cutlery, cleaning utensils bunny rabbits, turkeys made with towels and many other creatures of a woodland and arctic ménagerie.



A-Gent of Style was left wide-eyed and enthralled by the astonishing creations when he walked past the Peter Jones store on Sloane Square, Chelsea, a few nights ago. This magical and playful world of small and bigger animals made out of household products, all available from the department store (of course), is the brainchild of creative consultancy Chameleon Visual and über-genius Billie Achilleos,
‘versatile artist and maker of things’ (according to her website), a Technical Arts and Special Effects graduate from Wimbledon College for Art who has worked in opera, theatre, film, window display, advertising and fashion (you might remember her sensational collaboration with Louis Vuitton). Achilleos and an army of model makers have created 188 animals out of more than 7,000 products which were then produced by Setsquare Staging. The entire process took a year.



Robb Bloomer, retail design manager at John Lewis, said: “This year we want to do something a bit more contemporary, a bit more modern, a bit more fun. We want people queuing around the block, so we had to do something a bit different.”


Marvel with A-Gent of Style at this feat of engineering and
creative tour de force and let yourself be transported to this enchanting world. Christmas comes only once a year after all! And make sure you have a very close look through the window panes. The detailing is staggering.






















KB


































And for all of the A-Gentees not living in the UK, here’s the now iconic
(with the Marmite effect) The Bear and the Hare 2013 John Lewis Christmas advert (it gets A-Gent of Style everytime):







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